My Anxiety Isn't a Joke

 

I’ve always been a worrier: as a kid, as a teen, and most definitely as an adult. If there’s something to worry about, I’m 100% stressing about it.

It’s not always worrying though. Sometimes it’s the feeling of your body shaking that you can’t seem to stop. Sometimes it’s zoning out because something has upset you and the only way to cope is to pretend like you’re not even there. I’ve learned it’s not always worrying. Instead, it’s anxiety.

Anxiety can be many things and it comes in several different forms. There’s test anxiety, social anxiety, generalized anxiety. Yet, a stigma seems to follow this disorder wherever it may lead. It’s easy to assume that whenever someone says, “I have anxiety,” they may automatically think they are just stressed. Maybe they just have a lot on their mind right now.

I don’t and can’t have the same thought process though. Whenever someone says they have anxiety, I know what that entails. It’s more than just “someone who is upset and crying in the shower”. It can mean constant shaking, never-ending thoughts and the terrifying fear of impending doom that you can’t seem to shake.

I’ve dealt with anxiety for a long time. Longer than I’d like to admit. Sometimes I’ll joke around, saying “I love anxiety” whenever something doesn’t go my way. Sometimes I’ll blame my anxiety for why I don’t want to go out. Most of the times though, I’m not joking.

I hide 95% of the anxiety I feel because I’m afraid of what people will think. I’m afraid they’ll blow me off and say it isn’t real. I’m afraid they’ll laugh at what keeps me from going to sleep at night. My anxiety is very real though and it isn’t a joke.

I’m able to manage my thoughts (some of the time), but it’s never an easy feat. Anxiety (or any mental health condition) is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone is fighting a battle, and no matter what situation we may find ourselves in, it’s important to know that we are not alone. There are people who do understand what we’re going through, and they’re able to empathize with us.

On top of that, there are so many services available to help those who need it. Don’t be afraid to reach out. These are people trained who are there to listen and support you, without judgement.

 

Crisis Text Line: Text BAMA (or HOME) to 741741 to be matched with a trained crisis counselor. This service is free and confidential.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. This service is free and confidential.

The University of Alabama Counseling Center: https://counseling.sa.ua.edu/

 

Remember, you’re not alone in this.